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#InfidelityStories

February 1, 2019

Day 1 of #InfidelityStories is about forgiveness:

I could forgive the sexual betrayal. I am not able to forgive how he tried to put the blame for his affair on me.  It was the betrayal of being with someone for 15 years and them making you feel that the failure of the marriage was all your fault. That betrayal is the one I couldn’t forgive.~Caterina, Age 44

February 2, 2019

Day 2 of #InfidelityStories is about honesty:

“The biggest aspect of the betrayal wasn’t the sex or the emotional infidelity, it was the discrepancy between her words and her actions- what she said she wanted and what she was doing. She would say she wanted to work on our marriage and that she didn’t want to stay with her lover, yet all of her attention was focused on them. It would have been easier for me to hear the conflicting truth: “I want to stay married AND I want to be with my lover.” Then we would have had an honest to foundation to build from. But it’s hard to move forward when someone isn’t being honest with themselves.” ~Peter, Age 41

February 3, 2019

Day 3 of #InfidelityStories is about the end:

“I often get asked when I knew it was over. Because he had multiple affairs, people are curious what my breaking point was. The last affair was one when I realized his apology wasn’t for what he had done but rather, he was sorry that I was hurting. I turned to him and said that I didn’t need him to apologize for my feelings, I needed him to apologize for what he had done to cause me to feel that way. He responded that he was not responsible for my feelings and that all of this could be avoided if I would just let it go. For him, the issue was that I wasn’t properly managing my feelings. He saw no need to take responsibility for or alter his behavior. That’s when I knew that my feelings would never really matter to him and that it was over.” ~Jennifer, 41

February 4, 2019

Day 4 of #InfidelityStories is about growth:

“I think the affair happened when it did because we were caught up in a classic conflict of attachment styles. I was the more needy one, she the distancer. This led to sex problems. I assume her infidelity was a natural outgrowth of her distancing.

Did I discover anything new about myself or my partner as a result of the affair? It was a very delayed reaction almost 30 years later but I believe it led to my current attitude that if my now wife wanted to be sexual with another man and didn’t try to hide it, she would have my blessing. Part of this is perhaps a feeling that with this arrangement, the infidelity could be defanged– I could escape the devastation that I experienced originally.” ~David, Age 74

February 5, 2019

Day 5 of #InfidelityStories is about healing:

“I’ve been surprised to learn how common infidelity is, and that it can actually be a good thing for a relationship. Don’t beat yourself up for how long it takes to heal. Don’t feel pressured by your partner to “get over it” before you’re ready to. Do I think the affair will hang over the relationship forever? To some degree, yes. There will always be a small part of me that wonders if he’ll do it again, I don’t think that will ever be completely erased. I hope to some day talk about it more publicly with family and friends as something we went through rather than something that defines us.” ~Chelsea, Age 33

February 6, 2019

Day 6 of #InfidelityStories is about hindsight:

“My husband’s affair broke us all. My children and I were passengers in the drama he brought to our family. It’s now been 3 years since our separation, after I stayed for 5 years following the affair and tried to work it out. I’m more content now than I’ve been since I discovered it. With this hindsight, I wish I had made him leave the day I found out. But I allowed him to stay because of my fears about the loss of our family, the loss of our lifestyle and loss of our future. I regret not listening to my gut. Had we split immediately, I would have had time to think and regroup; we might still be together today. I believe that the first time I discovered his affair, it broke him as much as it did me, and he vowed it was over. Each time after that he was discovered in new affairs, it was less painful for him and it mattered less that he’d lied and hurt us again. It became a cycle and in the end, I realized I had the power to break it, but it took a long time. I wish I’d ended it on Day 1. My husband’s affair made me question my sanity. We were happy, we loved being together, and we had so much fun. We had what so many people didn’t, so why the affair?  Have I been deluding myself?  Esther Perel’s book, The State of Affairs, freed me from the torture in my head. I learned that happy people do have affairs.”   ~Tracey, Age 51 

February 7, 2019

Day 7 of #InfidelityStories is about perception:

“When people look at us, they see the ‘perfect couple.’ It’s laughable because we’ve been to hell and back. What they don’t realize is that it takes consistent effort every single day, and raw and sometimes painful communication to get the best out of a relationship. I don’t recommend infidelity, but sometimes it can put back together what taking each other for granted broke.” ~Gina, Age 43

February 8, 2019

Day 8 of #InfidelityStories is about when a child results from the affair:

“There isn’t much spoken about a child resulting from an affair and how that significantly complicates the situation. My feelings towards it all are very confusing. I still struggle with whether or not to stay. Dealing with the other woman is something I never want to do, yet my boyfriend hates what he did and has been devoted to me and fixing our relationship since. More needs to be talked about how the betrayed partner is supposed to regain their self esteem and how they’re supposed to move on, if ever, from it.  This is something I still have significant daily struggles with- what to do and how I feel.” ~Desiree, 32

February 9, 2019

Day 9 of #InfidelityStories is about evolution:

“I have years of love letters that he wrote to me during our courtship, and correspondence between his lover and me after his death. Letters that I wrote to myself, letters I wrote to my former self, to him, and to my daughter while I was recovering. I have all of this written documentation of what happened and what I learned. One thing that stands out is the opportunity his affair gave me to connect with the woman he betrayed me with. To forgive, to empathize, and to eventually respect and love her as part of our journey, in a way that I never could have imagined.” ~CJX, Age 44

February 10, 2019

Day 10 of #InfidelityStories is about finding the gifts in our grief:

“His affair and our divorce was the most painful and difficult thing I’ve ever had to overcome. There was a long time during which I wondered if I’d ever get past the anger and the grief. I’ve finally reached a space where we can talk without tension or awkwardness and I sincerely wish him happiness. I’m certain that I will have a more fulfilling relationship now than I could have ever dreamed of before. I found my voice during the affair and our divorce. It truly was a gift.” ~Paula, Age 50

February 11, 2019

Day 11 of #InfidelityStories is about responsibility:

“The affair wasn’t a result of any lack in my relationship.  In hindsight, I can point to problems, issues, and concerns that undermined my ability to be vulnerable in my relationship, to take risks, to face uncertainty, and to be emotionally transparent. However, none of those problems were at the root of the physical act of betrayal. I cheated specifically with the woman I chose out of avoidance, pride, and opportunity.” ~Sean, Age 50

February 12, 2019

Day 12 of #InfidelityStories is about fault:

“I want my partner to know that my cheating was never about anything she did or said. It was never about how I felt about her or our life together. It was never about her. The physical act was simply a selfish act. I want her to know that the secret-keeping and escalating series of lies was not to continue the behavior but to hide it. I wanted to hide it out of shame, guilt, and a prideful desire to remain her hero and her partner.  I want her to know she was the one. She was always the one.” ~Sean, Age 50  

February 13, 2019

Day 13 of #InfidelityStories is about secrets & loss:

“I hate that my lover called my partner and told her about the affair but I am eternally grateful that the secret and lies came out. The shame and humiliation were killing me. The moment the secret came out I was able to take my first full breath in years. I am a more complete man and I know that that is only because of my losses. I lost the things that were no longer serving me and my life. I am a better man than I ever was before. And I discovered a deeper and more meaningful way to love someone.” ~Sean, Age 50

February 14, 2019

Day 14 of #InfidelityStories is about trust:

Q: In a relationship where trust has been betrayed, how/when do you decide to leave or stay?
EP: “If you think that ‘trust’ is knowing ‘it will never happen again and until I know that, I can’t trust you,’ you will never trust again. Trust is an active engagement with the unknown. The most important thing when you have been hurt is that the person acknowledges they have hurt you. Nothing is more important to healing than that, that they recognize it & that they acknowledge the remorse they feel for having done it. Even if they thought they had good reasons to do it, even if they don’t feel bad about what they did, they must feel bad for what they did to you. That duality and acknowledgement is essential.” ~Esther Perel

February 15, 2019
Day 15 of #InfidelityStories is about personal ownership:

“I was betrayed in my marriage.  His affair was both emotional and sexual.  I thought at the time that the sexual side was going to be the deal-breaker but I realize now that the betrayal and his lies were a bigger deal for me.  I think it happened when it did because of the pressures he felt from finances and work. I can now see the role I had in the relationship dynamic that led to the affair: I knew how much he loved me and at times, I took it for granted. I didn’t realize how insecure he felt in the relationship. And while I thought the affair would hang over our relationship forever, but I now know it won’t.” ~Moisy, Age 55

February 16, 2019
Day 16 of #InfidelityStories is about affair contradictions:

“I felt a range of contradictory emotions all at once regarding the affair and my partner: vengeful, ashamed, humiliated, sad, hurt, angry, and scared.  I also felt a range of conflicting feelings: leave but don’t go, love me and I hate you, touch me and get your hands off of me, stay and go away.  I felt moral superiority, which I held over him. I was curious if my partner still thought about the other person, and I even felt a renewed sense of sexual desire prompted by the fear of loss.  Yet, the affair did not change my views on monogamy. For me, faithfulness is still necessary in a relationship.” ~Moisy, Age 55

ABOUT #INFIDELITYSTORIES

#InfidelityStories is a creative project of the Esther Perel Discussion Group on Facebook to bring more infidelity stories into the light for greater healing, understanding, and growth. Our goal is to challenge the stigmas around infidelity and the associated silence and shame. Infidelity is universally forbidden, universally practiced, yet it is still very much hidden, a source of shame, and deeply painful for many. Our goal is to change that. ❤️

#InfidelityStories shares the inner experiences of the individuals from across the globe who have been impacted by an affair, focusing not on the facts of the affair but rather the stories behind the statistics, the aftermath, and the process of repair.  

Every day during the month of February 2019, we’ll be posting a quote from a group member’s infidelity story to the hashtag #InfidelityStories.  Join the conversation at #InfidelityStories on Facebook, @LeapCast on Twitter, & @msleahmarshall on Instagram.

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